Early this summer, Shapeways and DJI challenged designers to create 3D printed modifications for Phantom 4 drones to aid first responders in search and rescue efforts. With over 100 entrants, we were incredibly impressed by the quality of submissions and the innovative ways in which designers used 3D printing to create life-saving modifications that may have otherwise been unexplored.
After much deliberation, we selected the winning designs and demoed the modifications at Maker Faire NYC this past weekend (video here). So without further ado, we’re pleased to formally announce the winners of the Search and Rescue design challenge!
Self-Releasing Rescue Delivery Capsule by Designerr – Cary Lucier of Designerr brought his incredible design to Maker Faire to show us first hand how it works. the MATILDA (Missing And Trapped Individuals Location Delivery Assistant) attaches to both legs of the Phantom Drone in just seconds without the need for extra tools or fasteners. This device can carry any number of precious items as part of any rescue mission including first aid supplies, medication, rescue instructions, and more. When MATILDA reaches her destination, the drone is able to self-release the precious cargo without ever touching the ground.
“Search and Whistle” drone attachment by Fusion Imaging – A specially tuned low pressure whistle array that clamps onto the 4 arms of the Phantom 4 directly under the propellers. By full throttling, the whistle generates a loud and persistent whistle which aids ground rescue crews to pinpoint the victim’s location once they have been located by the drone from the air.
Dye Marker Bomb/Buoy by Functional Prototype, LLC – This is an air-deliverable dye marker bomb/buoy for drones, providing an easy way for a drone operator to mark a location in the water using fluorescent dye, making the area highly reflective to visible and ultraviolet light used by S&R and first responder units. The buoy is filled with the brightly colored dye and glued together with water-soluble glue– ensuring release upon hitting the water after being dropped from the Phantom 4.
EXO 1– Search and Rescue Exoskeleton by FrostDesign – Combining aesthetics and functionality, the Exo 1 turns the Phantom 4 into the Swiss Army knife of search and rescue tools. This rugged, lightweight exoskeleton allows for increased drone visibility, ability to carry a payload, and assist with water rescues by allowing for the additions of searchlights, extra cameras (whether heat vision or infrared), and/or a waterproof bag to carry supplies for water rescues. This exoskeleton addresses all these capabilities in the simplest way possible while enabling a great deal of flexibility and options for customization.
Congratulations to all the winners! We recognize the incredible talent of the maker community and are excited to continue seeing their innovation rise to challenges like these! We’ll also be donating a drone to Joseph Novelli of the Fire department in California and sharing these modifications with first responders so they can start implementing these new tools in the field.